‘The Greatest Act of Optimism’: 10 Quotes About Teaching

From the moment students take their first hesitant steps into the kindergarten classroom, clutching their lunch bags and carrying pristine backpacks, teachers begin to introduce them to the possibilities of the world. In the years that follow, education forms a foundation, with more complex ideas layering over the basics as the children themselves grow and become more capable.

Study after study has shown that teachers are among the most important factors influencing student achievement. One extensive, longitudinal study followed students through several years of learning and determined that kids who spent one school year with a highly effective teacher continued to experience academic benefits even two years later in their education. But none of these statistics will sound like news to anyone who has been lucky enough to have a good teacher.

Teachers inspire. They create and nurture and encourage far beyond what the job description calls for, and in doing so, they instruct the young generation in much more than science, math, and literature. It’s not an exaggeration to say that teachers are shaping the world of tomorrow by educating the children of today. In honor of teachers everywhere, here are 10 quotes celebrating them and all they do.

Wherever you find something extraordinary, you’ll find the fingerprints of a great teacher.
— Arne Duncan, former U.S. secretary of education

When the untapped potential of a student meets the liberating art of a teacher, a miracle unfolds.
― Mary Hatwood Futrell, educator

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.
— Malala Yousafzai, activist

Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.
— Colleen Wilcox, educator

Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.
— Sidney Hook, philosopher

Teaching is the essential profession, the one that makes all other professions possible.
— David Haselkorn, author

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.
— Bill Gates, entrepreneur

I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.
— John Wooden, college basketball coach

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
— Mark Van Doren, poet and professor

Your heart is slightly bigger than the average human heart, but that’s because you’re a teacher.
— Aaron Bacall, cartoonist